Jun 102013
 

Princes of the Dragon Throne

Let me start by saying this isn’t a rules review, it is more of an experience review. We played Princes of the Dragon Throne twice now and have a few things to share. But before we can do that you should watch this video. No, really the rest of this won’t make any sense if you don’t watch it. It is an excellent tutorial of the game.

As I said we played twice, well three times actually, but the first game doesn’t count because we botched the rules a little bit. We overlooked parliament. By the end of our second game we were starting to get the hang of it. But let’s review a little bit. The goal of the game is to become the next Dragon Lord. You do this by managing resources to gain control of the board, which in turn is how you earn prestige. Simply put you try and have the most prestige.

It’s not that simple. There are several ways for one to earn prestige. The easiest is to recruit prospects (Dragons and Citizens), some of them have a dragon’s claw on them that earn you prestige from the moment you buy them. Most of your prestige rewards don’t come until the end of the game. They are as follows.

  • Have the most dragons in your deck.

  • Have the most citizens in your deck.

  • Control more kingdoms by controlling the most guilds in that kingdom.

  • Have the most of a guild type.

  • Control the most Clan Houses.

As you can see there are many layers to the strategy involved.

On to our experience. At first I thought Princes of the Dragon Throne was going to be a long drawn out game that required a lot of effort to get through the lulls in resource building. While there are a few lulls in your resource management we quickly discovered there is a random factor to that as well. So the game could start quickly if inexpensive prospects are placed on the board. Just in case I lost you, here is a quick recap. You use your starter deck to gather your resources and recruit prospects. Recruiting a prospect allows you to discard a card from your hand or your discard pile. The recruits have varying resource costs with some as high as thirteen. If you have 6 prospects on the board with a cost of 10 or more it might be a couple of turns before anyone does any recruiting.

Oh and recruiting is strategy all in its own. It is always a good idea to replace a starter card with a citizen or a dragon that offers you more resources. Why? You might ask. Because by replacing your starter card with the recruited card you thin your deck making it easier to draw the better card.

Oops, I’m rambling. The second game we played we fell into a gather resource rut. It was almost like we were waiting for the crops to grow so we could harvest them. But in the last game we played there was no such dilemma. It just clicked. We had players gathering resources while others took the opportunity to recruit on the first turn.

It wasn’t until about half way through our third game that we realized we were playing wrong. We were following the rules and all that. What we weren’t doing was looking at the big picture. The one that is about the strategy of the game. We were kind of racing to get the most prestige. Which is the goal of the game. We were struggling to get recruits for that instant prestige we spoke of earlier. But we weren’t looking to control clans, guilds, kingdoms and we certainly weren’t looking at having the most citizens or dragons in our deck. All of us overlooked those. I mean we were acquiring them , but not focusing on them.

Once that critical piece of the puzzle was popped into place the entire game changed. It was no longer a mundane game of “I need these resources to buy that dragon”. It was instead a game of critical thinking, where you would try and plot your next turn instead of waiting to gather resources. Yes it became a wrestling match with all the players struggling to gain the most control all the end of game conditions. At this point you began to see light bulbs go off and on in the other players eyes.

And it really is a wrestling match. There are so many ways to thwart your opponents. For example, you can easily gain control of a guild in one turn by recruiting a dragon and a citizen; providng they share the same color. If you need to stop a player from controling a kingdom or the most guilds it is one of the easiest methods to use. Of course, if you have a soldier’s favor you can accomplish the same thing by adding or removing up to two Kings Guards from the board. As you can see it doesn’t take long for Princes of the Dragon Throne to become a cut throat game.

All in all we had some pitfalls in learning to play, but once we caught on to the game we were more than happy to be playing. Princes of the Dragon Throne is a game that offers the players more than enough options to keep everyone guessing, and wanting more. My boys really can’t wait to play again and neither can I.

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